Sunday, July 25, 2010

Everyday Chicken Biryani -- Version 1.0

Once upon a time there was a young girl newly married and her husband who too was newly married and they did not cook much.To simplify life they would often make a very easy chicken biryani. It would start of as a chicken curry and then they would add rice to it, put everything in the pressure cooker, close the lid and then wait expectantly for the pressure to go whoosh 3 times. Their little house smelled nice with the rich spices and promises of a better tomorrow hung limply in the fragrant air. They would each have a plateful and think that was the best biryani ever.

Slowly they made friends, friend who introduced them to authentic Biryani places, the hole in the wall meat shops, who also served delicious Biryani. Sometimes they would travel 40 miles on the weekend to some such place for a plate of goat biryani and that taste would linger for the entire week. The everyday chicken biryani seemed too rustic, too homely compared to such exotic tastes. They did not feel the urge to cook it as often anymore.

Then they acquired a friend whose cooking was legendary and whose Mutton Biryani was the closest you could get to paradise. They would wait and wait for lunch or a dinner invite at her place, for a taste of that Biryani. The husband frustrated with all the waiting finally managed to wrangle the treasured recipe and cooked the legendary Mutton Biryani at home. It took half a day, half a bottle of ghee and tasted like heaven. The taste was so exotic that Every Day Chicken Biryani rarely got made again. The half bottle of ghee ensured that the Legendary Biryani never got made again except on rare occasions.

When the Biryani craving struck they just ordered out from the numerous respectable Biryani places that had now sprung up in the neighborhood.

And then I chanced upon Indosungod's Chicken Biryani. It sounded familiar, comforting and brought back the rich smell that hung in that small house years ago. So I made it. I adapted it to my old style but applied the new techniques and addition of new spices that I learned from her. I also applied the tips that I had learned from all of you in my Egg Pulao post.

I was extra happy with this dish because it had tomatoes, mint and coriander from the garden. I served this Biryani with a simple raita and I added some of the cherry tomatoes to the raita. I also added oven baked spicy potatoes to the Biryani to satisfy my Bong craving for potatoes in a Biryani.

The Everyday Chicken Biryani turned out delicious and comforting. Everyone including BS and LS loved it. Now that is a rare feat.

I say this is version 1.0 because there are many other variations to this delightful one pot meal that I might try in future. For now this=bliss.

Update: This goes to BB#6 at Nupur's delightful One Hot Stove


Everyday Chicken Biryani

Marinate about 2 lb Chicken with 1/4th Cup yogurt, 1 tsp Biryani Masala, 1 tsp Ginger Paste, 1 tsp Garlic Paste salt and little oil for an an hour or more. Note: Use your own or store bought Biryani Masala

Heat Vegetable Oil in a deep heavy bottomed bottomed pan or in a pressure cooker

Lightly fry 6 cloves of garlic and 2" piece of ginger. Remove and make a paste once it is cooled.

Temper the Oil with
1 Bay Leaf
2" stick of Cinnamon
4 whole clove
4 whole green cardamom
1 black cardamom (optional)
1/2 tsp of Fennel seeds
1/2 tsp Corriander seeds

When the spices sizzle add 1 Cup of chopped red onion. Add 1/2 tsp of sugar and fry the onion till it is soft and translucent and lightly browned at the edges.

Next add the ginger-garlic paste that you made and saute for a couple more minutes

Add 1 Cup of chopped carrots and green beans finely chopped and saute for 2-3 minutes. (This is optional)

Add 1 large potato chopped in quarters and saute for a minute. (This is NOT optional)

Now add the marinated chicken pieces and fry them till they turn a light golden.

Next add the spice powders
a little Turmeric Powder
1 Tbsp Biryani Masala
Note: I did not add any red chili powder as the kids were going to eat it too but add according to your taste.

Mix the masala with chicken and saute for 3-4 minutes. If needed sprinkle a little water while frying.

Add 2 Tbsp of chopped mint and 2 Tbsp of coriander leaves. 1 Tbsp of Dried mint works great too.

Add salt to taste and cook the chicken till they are 3/4th done

Meanwhile wash 2 cups of Basmati rice and drain all the water. Smear the rice grains with ghee so that the rice grains are nicely coated. Also bring about 5 cups of water to boil in a separate pot. Mostly the ratio of rice :water suggested is 1:2 but do what works best with the rice you use.

Once the chicken is almost done, add the rice and mix lightly. Do not stir vigorously. Adjust for salt and other seasonings. At this point I added 2 whole green chili chopped. Add the boiling water to this pan . Bring it to a simmer, then keep gas heat at medium low and cover the pan with lid. Cook till rice is almost done and the water has been absorbed. Now remove from heat, fluff the rice with a fork and open the lid in part.

If at this point some of the rice grains were not fully cooked, put a big griddle/tawa on medium flame and put this pan with biryani on the griddle/tawa. I sprinkled some fried onion on the rice, covered the lid in part and let it cook for 5-6 minutes. By this time all the grains were nicely done.


If you are doing in a pressure cooker hassle is less. Close the pressure cooker lid and cook till rice is done.

Serving Options 1: Now the Biryani popular in Bengal is always served with potatoes and so I love potatoes in my Biryani. This time instead of adding potato directly to the biryani this is what I did. I sliced thickly two red potatoes and tossed them with olive oil, sea salt and little roasted cumin powder. I then baked them in the oven at 400F for 25-30 mins. I then garnished the Biryani with these potato slices and fried onions.

Serve with a raita. To make raita put thick yogurt in a bowl and stir with a whisk or fork to have a uniform thick consistency. Add little milk to get the right consistency. Add chopped cucumber, chopped onion and tomatoes. Add little sugar, chaat masala and little salt. Mix well. Serve cold


  1. ooff Bong Mom, may I come now please, to your home for the biriyani? what a lovely story, I can visualise the new weds standing in their kitchen making the simple chicken biriyani and all that fragrance, mmm...

    In my loyalty to kolkata biriyani, many half a bottle of ghee have perished at home generating loads of guilt. now, will try the tomato, mint combination and the baked potato. can't wait.

    thank you.

  2. oops, I meant the newly weds and not "new"

  3. That does look fragrant and appetizing. Now I too want Chicken Biryani!

  4. Now I have got to make some to fix my craving. Looks delicious. Nothing like biryani with home grown tomatoes :)

    I am big biryani fan now, not long ago when I had not started cooking, I didn't care for it because of all the ghee (1/2 bottle you say) that went into it. Mutton biryani with ghee and the fat in the meat itself did not taste or feel appealing. I learned to cook it without all the grease and it actually tastes a lot better and it does not have to be a special occasion kind of deal.

  5. Sandeepa, the biriyani look like Kolkatar biriyani. So want it right now. At 2.30 in the morning. Might give it a try after my last failed attempt to make biriyani. Alu lies at the heart of biriyani

  6. Luv the version of Kolkata Biriyani with Alu ....

    Cheers n Happy Cooking,

  7. Such a droolworthy briyani, makes me hungry..

  8. I have heard this hole in the wall shops serve one of the best mango lassi also...actually I would prefer everyday chicken biryani over ghee laden biryani.I am glad even kids liked it a lot..aloo na hole biryani khete bhalo lagey na amaar O..this looks so home-made and delicious.
    hugs and smiles

  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

  10. Hi!!
    I am a new follwer of ur blog!! I like the way you narrate and weave stories around your recipes!!!!

  11. I love potato in my biryani too. The image of the newly weds experimenting with their biryani brings back some memories of my own.

  12. Hi Bong too yummy & delicious also your blog is too outstanding and eye catching,you should try website for advertising and marketing.

  13. Great post and a lovely entry- thanks so much. I must make a vegetarian version of this biryani.

  14. Yum, this looks awesome.i'm on a perpetual hunt for biriyani recipes, i am terribly frightened of this dish, nothing I have tried has worked =(

  15. I made this yesterday for dinner and boy was it a hit!! Thanks Sandeepa.

  16. I am so late to this post but YUM! I have always been nervous about making a biriyani but you make it sound easy.

  17. I wish I could come to your house and taste your biryani! I tried this tonight but was disappointed - my rice was overcooked in parts and undercooked in others (I used your tip of placing on the tawa but that ended up making the bottom part too mushy). I did the baked potatoes too and hubby thought they were too dry (guess I overdid them). :( So there's definitely more to the art of biryani than copying someone's method I guess! Oh well, next time maybe I'll just cook the rice separate and then layer it. Atleast I enjoyed the taste, though probably not worth the 3 hours I spent on it!

  18. Awwww......I am so sorry. 3 hours ??? Really ? This is like The Quick Biryani..not the detailed one and so is done very fast.

    I can understand the Rice thing, happens with me too. What I have learned is that there are 3 things about the rice

    1. Use good quality Basmati

    2. Smear the rice grains with enough ghee/oil so that each rice grain is well coated

    3. After adding the rice do not stir or mix vigorously

    4. Also my brand of rice usually takes double the water. Many brands need 1:1.5 ratio

    This is usually a quicker/easier Biryani compared to the layering one and is intended as a one pot meal. Next time try in a pressure cooker.

    The Potatoes need to be drizzled generously with Olive Oil and my settings were for my toaster oven. They turn out perfect always though

  19. Sue

    For this kind of One Pot Biryani try this next time

    It is similar to what I have but the recipe also has timings and instructions on when to set heat high/low etc. Hope that will solve your problem.

  20. Thanks, I'll try the tips and link. I must clarify, the 3 hrs was with interruptions every 30 seconds - 1yr old clinging to leg, 6 yr old running around like crazy, split up big fight between the two, fix booboo of 1 yr old, help 6 yr old with shower... you get the picture :)

  21. nice story....i am still in the "i don't cook" much phase. but then you can never reign in the foodie in a bong i guess so i venture out for recipes in the internet.that is how i chanced upon your blog or as i found out over the last 30 35 mins a treasure chest :)
    keep blogging mam.....some of the recipes look & sound so great i can't wait to try them.

  22. Hello Sandeepa , got introduced to your blog recently through Miri's blog( RIP Miri:( .
    Your chicken biriyani was the first recipie I tried from your blog last week and it was delicious. Love your witty style of writing as well. Just a quick note to say thanks for the good work..bloggers like u guys make life a lot easier for novice cooks .

  23. Hey,

    Currently I am doing my research on The different ways of cooking Biryani. I made a document which has some questions about the process of cooking Biryani. \

    Attached is the link of the document.

    Please feel free to go through it and if you have some suggestions please let me know.

    thank you

  24. Can we get your friend's treasured mutton biriyani recipe.....

  25. Thanks for the brilliant recipe. I linked it to my blog too for further inspiration. I made it too , its divine.

  26. Pls Post the recipe of the Secret Mutton Biryani..that you learnt from your friend..which requires half a bottle of ghee.... i want to try that at home..

  27. is onion fried in white oil or ghee??

  28. is onion fried in white oil or ghee??

  29. Tried this yesterday for dinner. Rice was a little mushy, but thats okay for everyday biriyani. Tasted really good and I am happy with it. Thanks for the wonderful recipe.

  30. Tried this for yesterday's dinner. Tasted so good! Rice was a little mushy, but thats okay with me for everyday biriyani. I am happy, thanks for the wonderful recipe.

  31. I love your version of this chicken biryani, look so delicious and has unique taste, I m glad that you share it here. thanks and more power to your site :)


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